Learn the difference and experience the difference. It’s well worth it.
My spice cabinet is so full, it makes me crazy. I can never find what I need. So I decide to pull everything out and go through the jars, one by one, hoping to eliminate some. Whatever I haven’t used in the past 6 months needs to go, I decide. It’s a bit like cleaning my closet, but here I also check expiration dates. And I don’t try anything on for size, minor bonus.
I realize that some spices I really never use (like coriander) and some have totally lost their flavor (like the ground cloves). I keep track of what I need to restock as I clean.
Really, my most valuable spices are my salts. That is really all one needs, for flavor.
Why salts, in plural? That’s because I have 5 types in my cabinet, always.
Here, let me tell you a bit more about my salt collection, and why I think you all need to take a better look into how you sprinkle.
- KOSHER SALT
The mother of all salts. The one and only when it comes to cooking or baking. It’s flakier and coarser-grained than regular table salt. Its large grain size makes it perfect for sprinkling on top of meat, where it releases a surprising blast of flavor. It’s preferred by chefs because it has a less intense and more pure, salty taste and because it’s easier to pick up the crystals and toss them into the pot. You cannot go wrong with kosher salt.
I keep my kosher salt in a salt cellar (see this post by Victoria Dwek), it’s the easiest way for measuring and sprinkling. I love that feeling of the granules falling off my fingers.
2) TABLE SALT
Basically the stuff you put into the saltshaker. Nothing more. It pours out easily and neatly. The one quality that table salt has over kosher salt is that it dissolves better. If, for example, you need to brine a chicken and you want it to dissolve completely, I recommend you use this.
3) PINK HIMALAYAN SALT
My new favorite. There is an ongoing debate whether it is truly healthier than other salts, but, honestly, I don’t really care. I find it really flavorful for seasoning meats and fish. (I will not use it for potato kugel, soups, challos, etc. ) It can be found in virtually all groceries nowadays.
4) MALDON SEA SALT FLAKES (see link here)
No, the typical household will probably not stock on Maldon, but, really, it should. Maldon Salt adds that perfect touch to any dish that gets a sprinkle of salt right before serving and not during cooking, hence the name “finishing salt.” Think edamame, bruschetta or salads. Maldon has a slightly chewy texture that is delicious and addictive. Worth the splurge. Also, it is so pretty. I use it on my homemade caramels as well.
5) SEA SALT CRYSTALS
This is probably the one that I use least, for cooking that is. It’s my go-to for food styling because of its large, visible crystals. I sometimes sprinkle it on a tomato salad, or chocolate chip cookies, right before baking them, for that extra pizzaz. I find them prettier than useful.
Alright, time to get back to my cabinet, time to clean this up!